Do You Believe in the Existence of Good and Evil?
Last week I was talking with a young man that I know and love dearly. In the course of our conversation, he asked a profound question; “how do we know that God is right?” Granted, this person is struggling in life at the moment. He is in the midst of an unwanted divorce, brought about by his soon-to-be ex-wife’s infidelity. High among his current concerns is that he is working to get custody of his two young children. He now finds himself living in an unconventional relationship, in a household that is far from morally traditional. He was raised in a Catholic home, and just a few short years ago this gentleman was in charge of the children ministry at the Protestant church his family had been attending; he was even elected to the board of deacons. From outward appearances, I would have thought that his grasp of spiritual truth would have been a bit better formed.
The sad truth is that this young man is highly representational of many in our modern culture. Doubt and moral relativism are now the norms rather than the exception. This is a huge reason why I wrote my eBook, Authentic Faith, Radical Transformation, and Contemplative Prayer (available on Amazon). Far too many Catholics are being led astray by the lies of modernism. Additionally, this is the reason why bishops and priests need to preach more often on solid Catholic doctrine rather than presenting feel-good homilies. Our youth today need to be encouraged to understand their faith in an intimate way. It is only through knowledge of God through solid Church teachings that our posterity will defend themselves against the fiery darts of the evil one.
So, “how do we know that God is right?” This is the basic question presented in Moral Theology.
Let’s approach this question by looking into one particular subject: murder, is murder wrong? Is murder evil? Most people will answer with a resounding yes. But how do we really know that murder is wrong? There are many things that we can observe in our natural world that can be scientifically proven, such as the boiling point of water, the circumstance of the earth. The world is full of tangible things that we can touch, feel and otherwise verify with our natural senses. Morality is another matter altogether. There is nothing tactile about murder or ideas that lead to moral choices. Ideas may not be smelt or even seen. What measurements, photographs or other data can we provide that proves that murder, rape, divorce, or homosexuality is wrong? The fact is you cannot!
There are indeed scientific facts, but without God, there are no moral facts.
Without God, there can only be personal or societal opinions about morality. Our Catholic values are predicated on the existence of a Moral God. Even Atheists agree that without God there is only subjective morality. Only through a God that says murder is wrong, is murder wrong — any other understanding is merely opinion. For the past two millennia, Western Civilization has been based on this understanding.
An illustration that my young friend brought up was the modern issue of homosexuality, and that his sister who is married to another female, loves her spouse, and why is that wrong? First, we need to understand that not believing in God does not mean that you cannot be a good person. There are plenty of kind and charitable individuals that don’t believe in God and traditional Catholic values. But the existence of these people has nothing to do with whether or not good or evil exist if there is no God. By example, there have been many people who believed in God but were not good people — more than a few have been evil and committed evil acts and atrocities in God’s name. The existence of God has never been an assurance that people will do good.
The existence of God only proves that good and evil exist objectively and are not merely opinions. Without God, we ultimately end up with Moral Relativism — where personal opinion and feelings become the standard for personal conduct. In this understanding, morality is not an absolute, but subjective and only relative to each individual — not to society as a whole.In this understanding of morality, societal moral norms are too cumbersome and limiting; anarchy reigns supreme.
Without God, the terms Good and Evil are nothing more meaningful than saying “I like” or “I dislike.” Without God, the statement “murder is evil, is equivalent to saying “I don’t like murder.” I often hear people say that even without God, murder is wrong, and good people won’t murder because they don’t want to be murdered. This past century was probably the bloodiest on record and serves to prove the lunacy of that statement — with about 100,000,000 people “murdered” by communist dictators alone. It is no coincidence that Communist and Socialist nations who flat out reject our Catholic values put such a low value on human life.
Here in the United States where we are no longer a Christian nation, the value of human life is at an all-time low. Many states have passed “assisted suicide” laws and abortion on demand are supported by rule of law. Since Roe v. Wade nearly 60,000,000 pre-born babies have been murdered in the US alone, and nearly 1,500,000,000 worldwide. These numbers are a direct result of denying God’s moral imperatives.
In our modern, godless society, we are witnessing a world of moral confusion. A 2005 study on college freshmen revealed that a majority believe that moral claims were nothing more than personal opinion.
So, in answering my young friend, each of us is free to choose to follow God’s moral code. However, the fact is that without God as a source of morality, morality is nothing more than a matter of opinion. I am personally concerned for my own children and grandchildren in this increasingly relativistic society. If you want a moral world, the absence of Catholic values should concern you as well. In a world where anything and everything is somehow okay should send shivers up and down your spine.
How do we know that God is right? That my friend is something that you have to accept on faith. The alternative leads to anarchy and destruction. It is your choice to either follow the masses on the road to destruction or take the road less traveled.